Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Blacksmith's Arms, Broughton Mills

Walks on the Lakeland fells tend to make you crave open fires, low beams, piping hot food and tankards of ale.

The Blacksmith's Arms at Broughton Mills brings these elements together in just the way your imagination pictured them when you were out there doing battle with horizontal sleet and chaffing cagoules on nearby hills around Coniston Water.

The sign over the door as you enter reads 1748, and records show the building was listed as an inn around this date, but the building dates back as far as 1577 and used to be a farmhouse.

Tread the locally quarried slate floors along the oak panelled corridor to the bar, and you can have your posterior nicely warmed by the open fire while you peruse ales from Dent, Hawkshead and Ambleside. Lager drinkers can also enjoy a change from the usual, with an excellent Penine Pilsner from Cumbria's own Tirril Brewery on offer at the Blacksmiths.

On our visit, in snowy late-March, we called ahead to check that the winding lane from the A593 down to the pub was open, and they suggested we book a table. We were thankful of this as we enjoyed prime seats by the Yorkshire range as the pub began to fill up with Saturday lunchtime walkers and their very welcome dogs.

The food was hot and hearty, with the warming sweet potato and ginger soup and mammoth beer-battered hake and chips both recommended. There was no choosing between the lime and ginger creme brulee and the hot chocolate brownie in the dessert stakes - so we had a good helping of both!

The Hairy Bikers are said to have dubbed the Blacksmiths fayre "Gourmet food at pub prices" on their recent visit. While gourmet might be going a bit far, you are guaranteed excellent value for money, and the staff at the Blacksmiths are wonderfully welcoming, helpful, chatty and personable.

Not an easy pub to pick fault with, but we did have to snuggle up close to the roaring range as the cold air from outside whipped into the snug every time a new customer arrived.

But battling the elements is what trips to the Lake District in March are all about and we couldn't have wished for a better pub to stop at.